Monday, February 29, 2016


I sit down to write. I open my computer. The computer is turning on. I open up MS Word.  The girls start arguing. Someone said something unkind.  One sister won’t let the other sister play with her. Someone wants to be by herself.  Sigh. Having an introverted child...can be interesting. She comes by it naturally though…

I go into the living room and sit in between the girls.  I try to talk to them about playing together.  I talk to them about sharing. I talk to them about being nice to each other.

I have had this same discussion with them so many times I’ve lost count.  Cassie would rather play by herself.  Cassie would rather not have anyone telling her what to do.  Cassie wants to pick ALL the shows she watches. Cassie wants to play with ALL the toys. Cassie likes her alone time; and a lot of it. Oh Boy!

Great! I wonder how she will be as an adult. 

Somehow I convince Cassie to watch a show with Alyssa.  Finally.

I sit back down at the computer and begin to write.  I’ve written a whole 2 sentences and I see Alyssa walking across the furniture. REALLY!!!  “Alyssa! Sit down! No walking on the furniture.” She promptly sits. 

I type a few more lines and I catch a glimpse of Cassie in the living room.  Nice!  “Cassie! Sit down! Do not stand on the furniture!”

Then I realize I can’t see Alyssa anymore.  I LOVE my children! 
“Alyssa, you better be sitting on the couch.”

I type some more.  Alyssa appears in the doorway.  “Mom, I was only doing it because Cassie was doing it!” 

SERIOUSLY?? My 16 year old uses the SAME excuse!

“So does that make it right?”


“Then DON’T walk on the furniture.”

Back to typing. OH MY GOSH. I wonder how I ever get anything done at all. It truly is a MIRACLE that anything gets completed. The amount of time it takes to get any one task accomplished can double or triple in time depending on how the kids are behaving on a given day.  It’s FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!

I go back to my typing. Todd wakes up from his nap.  I pause for a moment to talk to him.  Then I go back to my task. 

“Hey Mom!” Todd calls to me.  “What?” I ask, feeling a little annoyed at the continued distractions; now from an adult too.

“Come look at us!” He says. 

I may have let out a sigh...just maybe.  I get up and this is what I find. 

Hahaha! If you can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Squat challenge

A couple of weeks ago…

Oh my gosh! I’m SO sore today. Yep. I’m feeling it.  Feeling it all! My glutes…quads…. Um wait.  There HAVE to be more muscles in there.  Holy cow. 

A friend is doing a squat challenge over the next three months.  10,000 squats in three months. 112 per day. Or if you don’t do them on Sundays it would be 129 per day. THAT’s a lot of squats!

I’m already sore from my workout the day before.  I did some squats, lunges and some lunge jumps. Yep!  I hurt. 

So, I choose a workout that is different from the day before.  There won’t be any squats in it, right?  WRONG!  I don’t even know how many I did during the workout.  It was burning so badly I didn’t bother to count.  I was gritting my teeth to make it through the entire 60 second interval.  YIKES!

Once I do my cool down I decide to see just how many squats I can do…just to see. I know. I’m crazy.  But I love to challenge myself.

120. Yep.  I did them all. And now I’m SO SORE.  But I think I’m going to try more tomorrow.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The good things in life

I wrap my arms around Cassie and rub my nose on her soft little cheek.  At least 50-75% of the time she won’t allow me to hug her.  She’ll bat me away or squirm and get mad at me. But this time she lets me.  She’s in the right mood. 

“Why are you so cute?” I ask.

Her reply makes me giggle. “I’m NOT so cute!” she says emphatically. A grin spreads across my face.  She hasn’t figured out that “cute” is a good thing.  Quickly I come up with a reply.

“Then, why are you so Cassie?” I ask with a smirk on my face. She identifies with this question.

In her adorable little girl voice she quickly and softly replies, “Because Heavenly Father made me so Cassie.”

Moments like these make all the CRAP in the world worthwhile. 
Taken almost a year ago but still so cute!

Monday, February 22, 2016

It's a FAKE day off!!

It’s Thursday and the kids are off from school today. Parent teacher conferences. It’s a “day off”, but not really.

I’m constantly reminding them to do what they need to do.  Redirect. Redirect. Redirect. Sigh. 

Put away your clothes.

Put the dishes away.

Go take your meds.

Did you eat breakfast?

Finish your chores.

No, you may not have video game time until you finish your chores.

Do your homework.

Focus. Get your work done.

Clean your room. 

Who’s socks are these?

The “not me” ghost is FIRED!

Who put a hole in this chair?

Well, SOMEONE did it.

Pick up those blankets and pillows.

Put the toys away…where they go.

Turn off the light when you’re not in your room.

What are you DOING? Finish your job.

And on…and on…and on. It’s exhausting.  And makes me hate days off from school.  I SHOULD be enjoying my time with my children. We should be having fun. If they would just GET UP and do what needs to be done they would be left with the majority of the day to do whatever their hearts desired.  But THAT would be too easy.

Eventually everything is complete.  Eventually I can relax…at like 7pm. And then I eat a brownie.  Aaagh!  I was trying to be good, but that motivation is gone at the moment.

8pm is bedtime. And it takes forever to get them to bed.  9:15 I turn out the lights with a little girl trying to fall asleep next to me. Sigh! Sleep...

4:55am my alarm goes off.  I’m SO thankful for school today! 

I’m not exaggerating…not even a little bit. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Hidden gluten

We sat and stared, wide eyed, as Cassie screamed and pushed and shoved Alyssa.  She was practically attacking Alyssa…over a toy that she wanted.  I glanced at Juli again, shaking my head.  What the HECK!

I tried getting Cassie’s attention, tried pulling her away with my words, but she wasn’t hearing anything I was saying.  Nothing was getting through. I went to her and picked her flailing, thrashing body up and carried her back to my seat and tried to sit.  She refused to be consoled.

She continued to scream.  She wiggled free from my grip and immediately started toward Alyssa again.  She REALLY wanted that silly toy!  In her mind she was entitled to it. 

I pulled her away again and AGAIN tried to sit and hold her.  Nope. Not happening.  “She hasn’t done this in a long time,” I said to Juli. “This is what she used to do…ALL THE TIME…before we changed her diet.”

“Oh my gosh!  Seriously? She hasn’t done this AT ALL since you got here,” was Juli’s reply.  We’ve been here for 6 months now. 

I know.  I’m usually so cautious.  So careful.  So protective of what she eats.  I let my guard down a little today.  BAD idea! 

We had lunch at my parent’s house and my dad fixed his venison stew.  It was awesome!  So yummy! And I forgot all about the spices.  In know better. 

You see…gluten hides in all kinds of fun places.  It’s a sneaky little booger. But really it’s the manufacturers who sneak it in there. GRRR!!  It’s SO wonderful! And SO sweet of them! When you’re not sensitive to it, you’d never even know it was there.  Well believe me…it’s THERE!

I stuck my leg out to prevent Cassie from reaching her sister…forcing her to stay near me.  She was mad; really mad.  Sensitivity induced mad.  It’s such a FUN thing to experience…NOT!

This all happened on Sunday afternoon.  She eventually calmed down and stopped attacking her sister.

It’s Monday and Cassie is tired…sleepy…no energy. All day she lays around. She climbs onto my lap, her thumb stuck in her mouth. Her fingers search until they find the edge of my t-shirt and they begin to rub back and forth. Soothing. Comforting.  She’s uncomfortable.  She doesn’t feel well. Her skin is pale. I touch her forehead. She’s not hot…thank goodness.

She climbs off my lap…uncomfortable.  She lays her head on the pillow on the couch.

“Are you feeling yucky?” I ask.
“No, I’m fine.”
She begins to make the noises…like she’s going to be sick.  Ah crap! I scoop her up and run for the kitchen. I flick on the light, or try to, but my fingers can’t find the switch very quickly.  Seriously?! I hate when that happens.  The light comes on and I run to the cabinet for a bowl.  Two are stuck together.  I’m trying to pry them apart, and hoping that she won’t be sick on me while I’m doing it. Cause THAT would be AWESOME! And it’s happened before. I start to call for Juli to help and they magically slip apart. Geesh!

I stand there holding my 4 year old baby in my arms with a bowl in front of her face. After a minute or two she says, “I don’t need it anymore. I’m not gonna ‘flow up’”. I swear she SHOVED that feeling right back down. But she seems okay…for now.

All evening we carry the bowl around wherever she goes…just in case. 

Tuesday morning I wake up and realize that she didn’t get sick!  Halle-Freaking-Lujah!  It’s a MIRACLE!

She still isn’t feeling well…just not quite right…and she has ZERO appetite. 

It’s Wednesday and I’ve been busy cleaning and getting things done.  I know the girls woke up because I saw them come upstairs for a brief moment earlier.  I peek into their room to see what they’re up to.  Ah. I see. They’re curled up in the “fort” (a blanket tucked under the top bunk mattress to cover the bottom bunk) watching a show on my kindle.

By the time I finish my workout Cassie has moved out to the loveseat in the family room. She’s so pale and so exhausted. I ask her what she’d like for breakfast.  Macaroni and cheese sounds good to her.  Of COURSE it does!  I make her some gluten free mac and cheese, because I’ll give her just about anything she wants to eat right now. I call to her from the top of the stairs. She replies quietly.  So quietly that I have to go down to ask what she said.  “You carry me up the stairs,” she asks.  She’s a wee bit pathetic.  Poor thing!

I scoop her up and carry her to the dining room table where I sit and help her eat.  She has no energy. I’m really concerned.  If she doesn’t feel better by the end of the day I’ll be calling the doctor’s office. 

I help her get some water and spoon feed her some mac and cheese.  She doesn’t eat a lot, but she is able to keep some food down.  That’s a plus. 

Late afternoon she perks up.  She’s feeling better. She plays happily with her sister.  Sigh.  Yep! Three days.  THREE DAYS!! That’s what it takes for the offending foods to leave her little body. I really hate gluten, dyes and artificial preservatives.  They make life so darned interesting! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


A large box arrived on Wednesday from Amazon.  I LOVE Amazon!  It’s the best thing EVER invented!  Okay, maybe not THE best, but it’s sure close. 

Anyway…I start to pull at the tape holding the box closed and Max appears next to me.  He's got ninja skills I think.  Stealthy. 

“What did you order? Did you order another child?” Max asks.

I can't help it. I laugh.  What a funny thing to say. I’m thinking…where in the world did THAT come from?

“What?” Max asks. He doesn’t see what’s so funny. “Is there a child in there?”

I’m pretty sure I laughed even harder.  Seriously? Where the heck does he come up with this stuff.  He’s such a crack up!

Autism. Autism sees the world differently.  

“No!” I replied. “It’s just toilet paper.”

He’s completely let down.  He shoulders slouch and he replies with very little feeling, “Oh.”

And I am left laughing.  Yep. This is life with Max.  Autism has surely made our lives more interesting as he has gotten older.  It definitely wasn’t this fun when he was a toddler.  HOLY COW!  I’ll take him at 14 years old any day!

Monday, February 15, 2016

I wasn't meant to be a plumber!!

Glug glug glug. A pool of water sits in the sink…ever so S L O W L Y seeping down the drain. I pull the drain stopper up and place it…all covered in gray goo…on the counter.  Ugh! Luckily the drain stopper isn’t attached inside the drain, making it easier for me to see down the dark hole. My face wrinkles in disgust.  Gross.  Seriously nasty! There’s a large clump of sludge blocking the drain.

Let me have a minute here to be a bit grossed out.  EWWWWW!  *shudder* shudder*

Sigh.  Okay.  I can handle this. My husband, the resident plumber, is at his day job today.  He’s working so many hours that he’s barely ever at home.  By the time he has time to unclog the drain it’ll probably be worse…overflowing onto the floor…if my littles have anything to do about it.

Suck it up and do it, I tell myself.  I need something to dig the creeping crud out of the drain.  After a second I decide to get out a screw driver.  I grab a container of disinfecting wipes too.  This junk is SOO disgusting…

I use the wipes to clean the gray sludge off from the drain stopper, my nose wrinkled in complete disgust the entire time. I can’t help it. It’s involuntary. *shudder* I set the stopper on the counter again…as clean as it can get for now.  Maybe I should boil it…haha.

I begin digging at the clump in the drain with the screw driver.  Slowly I get small chunk up and out and onto disinfecting wipes.  I carefully wrap it inside the wipe and place it in the trash.  I dig up some more.

You know.  This drain wouldn’t be this bad if it wasn’t for the fact that I have so stinking much hair on my head.  I swear I lose tons of hair.  I even try to be so careful to make sure that my hair is taken OUT of the sink and put INTO the trash can.  But NO! Somehow it still makes its way into the deep dark abyss of the plumbing. This isn’t the first drain I’ve clogged with my hair.  And it probably won’t be the last.  Maybe I should go BALD….no…Todd wouldn’t like that.  

I finally get as much of the clump of goo as I possibly can scraped out of the sink drain. Then I wipe the drain out with a few wipes…for good measure.  At least it will be clean-er… for just a few minutes.  I can stop having the heeby geebies over it.  Ick!

I place the drain stopper back into the drain and run the water.  The water flows freely again. Yay!  Success!  I fixed it! I feel so…accomplished.  It’s a great feeling when I can fix things for myself and my family.  It makes me feel like a very independent woman…even if for just a few short minutes.  And I helped relieve some of the burden normally placed on my exhausted husband.  Now THIS is how to see the best in CRAP! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The best day ever

I had a different CRAPTASTIC post all written and ready for today. But then…THIS happened.  And I HAVE to share.  Can craptastic be positive? Well…for this post…craptastic is like FANTASTIC. 

You remember my post about the kids eating more than half our month’s supply of granola bars in 4 days?? Yeah….

Today, on our way home from our date, Todd and I stopped to get the mail.  There was a package! GRIN! I love getting packages.  It’s like Christmas. But I hadn’t ordered anything.  So, I checked the return address.  It’s from a friend in Texas. 

Oh yeah! Just recently Chad asked for our new mailing address.  I thought nothing of it. In fact I had completely forgotten about it. 

And now, here sits a small box addressed to my boys.  Hmm. Curious.

As soon as we walk in the door Todd opens the box.  Haha!  He didn’t even wait for the kids to open it.  I open the flaps and find this note.

Now…you have to understand that Chad LOVES to tease me about gluten. I seem to remember a discussion about making cookies…or something… and he joked about asking for extra gluten on the side. Chad LOVES gluten. And since I can’t eat gluten it has become a joke between us. 

So, I open this box and what do I find? Gluten-FULL Granola bars.  Yep. Gluten full.  With the instruction to “Make sure you ask Mom and Dad if you can eat them” included. 

And I’m doubled over laughing….

Yep...I apparently don’t get out much. 

Needless to say, this package MADE my kids’ night.  Colin says, “This is the BEST DAY EVER!!”

And they each GOBBLED up 2 granola bars before we had scriptures.  It’s the little things that make us happy…

 Thank you Chad!! :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Itchy itchy itchy

Saturday night and I can stay up until 10pm! Yay!  I RARELY allow myself to stay up much past 9:15 or 9:30. I have to be up at 4:55am to make sure my boys are up for seminary each morning before school. 

The girls are all tucked into their beds. And I’m trying to convince myself to shut off the show and go to sleep.  But I don’t want to.  I want to keep watching; just because I rarely get to.

When I finally shut off the show and close my eyes and I can’t sleep. I’m tossing and turning.  I’m trying to get comfortable.  And I can’t. My brain won’t shut off.  It’s racing from topic to topic.  I try to calm my mind, but I’m not successful this time.

My arms start to itch.  When this happens I usually change into a short sleeved shirt and apply some lotion.  I do just that.  The itching won’t stop.  Now I need to go to the bathroom again.  Up the stairs I softly walk. 
Itchy Itchy Itchy

Back in bed the itching won’t stop.  Now my head itches. That could be because Colin came to me before he went to bed saying his head itched and that it felt like there was something in his hair…moving.  EWWWW! I checked his head. Twice. But there was nothing there, thankfully.

Now I’m thinking he gave me the itchies. But I DON’T think they’re contagious.  Now my back is itching.  I’m so uncomfortable. 

Then my legs start to itch too.  I get up to go to the bathroom and check to see if I can find a rash of any kind.  None.  No rash.  What the heck is going on? So I have an invisible rash? Weird!

It’s got to be in my head. I keep telling myself that.  I try to relax and go to sleep, but the itching just gets worse.  The inside of my ears is itchy now.  Aaagh! Seriously!

                                             Itchy Itchy Itchy

Sleep isn’t happening.  I keep texting Todd, who’s working the night shift, to see how he’s doing.  I want to turn on a show again, but logically I know I’ll get more rest if I just keep the lights and electronics off.  I close my eyes and try to think of other things.  I try to clear my mind.  Just as I start to fall asleep I wake up again…itching still. 

I’m trying to figure out what I can do to relieve my itching.  I start looking online to see what people have said about an invisible rash.  Nope. Nothing that applies to me. I shut off the phone again. Lights out.
My eyes close and I begin to doze again. Sigh. I wish the itching would just stop.  I text Todd again.  He’s surprised that I’m still awake.  If only I could sleep. 

It’s about 2:30 in the morning when I text him again. I’m frustrated and tired.  I should be sleeping while my kids are sleeping.  But it’s not working.  Todd calls me and asks me some questions.  It feels like I have hives, but there are no red spots.  So strange.  He tells me to take some benedryl.  I question whether or not it will interact well with my allergy medicine that I take every night before bed.  I check labels.  They are different medicines.  I take a dose of benedryl. 

Itchy Itchy Itchy
The last time I look at the clock it’s 3:00am.  My head is groggy…cloudy…heavy. I still itch.  But I’m falling asleep. 

My alarm goes off at 6:00am to get ready for church.  There’s no way I can get up.  I set an alarm for 7:00 and go back to sleep.  I text my mom and tell her I haven’t slept much and won’t be able to go to church.  She offers to take children.  I don’t know if I can actually get them up and going.  And Todd is in no shape to get up…since he just got home at 6:15.  I drag my woozy head out of bed and stagger up the stairs to get Colin up.  Johnny has a headache and is going to stay in bed.  Alex is mad that I’m making him get up. I don’t have the energy to fight it.  I let him go back to bed.  Max wakes up and gets ready.  I don’t even bother waking up the girls.  That would take too much energy. 

I itch. I get some more benedryl. I give the 2 boys instructions. Text my mom to tell her who is going to go with them to church and I carefully make my way back down the stairs.   I find my bed and curl up and go to sleep. 

Thankfully the itching lasts for only about 24 hours.  During the day it’s not too bad.  I can deal with the occasional annoyance.  But before bed on Sunday night I take another dose of benedryl so that I can sleep. 

I’m so thankful that most of the time I am able to care for my family with minor sicknesses along the way.  Every time I’m sick I am reminded just how blessed I am.  And now as I type this story…I itch…just thinking about it.  Ick!  I’m going to go think of something else now.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Who's money it is anyway?

We’re sitting at the dining room table enjoying a nice meal together.  My husband is actually home. He’s gone a lot working nights.  My sister hands me some money and tells me it’s for the items she purchased at Old Navy.  I nod my head and start to put it into my pocket.  My husband, who apparently is in a teasing mood, tries to grab it.  I tell him to stop and explain that it’s for the stuff we bought. 

I said, “Do YOU want to pay the Old Navy bill?”

And he comes back with, “I DO pay the Old Navy bill!”…insinuating that HIS money pays the bills…because I don’t make any money. I’m a Stay at Home Mom.

Oh my goodness! He knows that gets me ALL RILED UP!  He doesn’t really mean it. I KNOW that. I just have to tell myself that! He loves to get me going.  Drives me NUTS! 

He has always insisted that I stay home with our children.  We both feel that it’s the right place for me to be.  Which means that I don’t contribute to the actual income of the family.  I DO decrease our expenses though. THAT is for sure. I'm pretty frugal. 

And yet if it comes right down to it, he’ll be the first one to defend Stay at Home Moms.  He says what we do is invaluable.  He’s a good guy!

AAGH! But he’s still a STINKER!  And I think he may just have to sleep on the couch in the very near future…

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The cutting board

My head is throbbing again. I convince my little girl that I can watch a show on Netflix for a little while so I can fold some laundry. I STRONGLY dislike folding laundry...watching a show makes it bearable.  That’s kind of like resting…I think.  Not really. But I need to be productive somehow. And the laundry really needs to be folded.  The girls have 3 loads that need to be done.  There are two loads of towels and I don’t even know how many more.  It multiplies, I swear! Like Gremlins!!!

(They're harmless...right...)

So I fold. And watch. And fold some more. 

The boys come home from school.  Alex must really want something…like video game time…because he starts on his chores without being asked or reminded.  WOW!!  This RARELY happens! I mean, almost NEVER! He needs constant reminders to get most anything done at home.

Why is it that kids break EVERYTHING? I mean really.  Is it THAT hard to do simple tasks without causing things to be destroyed? Since we've moved here they've successfully broken a light, two toilet seats...yeah 2, the mini blinds in the bathroom, the sleds...and more. 

And then I hear the clattering of wood.  “What happened?” I ask.  No reply.  “What happened, Alex?” Again no reply. “Did something break?” I ask. He hesitantly replies, “Yes.”

“What was it?”

He walks to the edge of the living room holding a wooden cutting board that’s now it three pieces.  
“Alex! That’s not ours! That’s Aunt Juli’s!!”

“It is? Oh crap!”

“You’ll have to show it to Aunt Juli when she gets home.  You’ll also have to find out how much it cost so that you can work to earn money to replace it.” There's a sneaky suspicion in my head that Alex might just have been twirling that cutting board on his finger...just maybe...

I continue folding and watching. 

 Alex was stressing, unbeknownst to us.  He worried that Aunt Juli was going to be mad.  I mean really…she’s SO MEAN! NOT! He worried that he was going to be in trouble.  And I had forgotten ALL about it. Let’s be honest, my head hurt, so I didn’t care much. Woops!

When Aunt Juli came home and he showed her the cutting board she was very easy going about it, as she usually is. “It’s not a big deal.  Don’t worry about it,” she said.

Alex, feeling as though he had needlessly worried, got mad, “MOM! See!  SHE DIDN’T EVEN GET MAD! It wasn’t a big deal, Mom!”

“But next time it might be, so be careful that you don’t break things,” Juli replied. 

Oh, having kids is so fun! And on occasion...when the item they break is worth are expensive. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

The coat

Kids are awesome! 11 year old Colin is fantastic. He might even make a great lawyer one day.  He is the master negotiator in the house.  It’s so great!  Insert eye roll here… 

It’s winter in Maine.  It has been very cold.  Some days it’s been in the single digits with wind chill factors below zero.  Um yep…it’s cold.  Bundling up is a must!

Yesterday we had a high of 34 degrees.  It was downright balmy out compared to the negative temperatures we had.
Colin is finishing getting ready for school. He stuffs his winter coat into the pocket of his backpack. Then he asks if he has to wear his coat. “Yes, you need to wear your coat. It’s 19 degrees out there.  It’s BELOW freezing.” I said. 

“But it’s not cold to me!” he complains.
“Dude! It’s cold to anyone.”
“No it’s not.  I just stood outside for like a minute and it’s not cold.”
“A whole minute? That’s it? You’re going to be outside for 15 minutes waiting for the bus.  You need to be warm.”
“I will be warm. I’m not even cold outside.”
“They won’t let you outside for recess without a coat. You need to have your coat.”
“It’s in my backpack.” He walks away for a second, thinking he’s won. Too bad, so sad!

“You’re going to wear your coat!”
“Mom, there were kids taking off their coats during recess yesterday.  Come on mom.  It’s warm out.”

I ignore him for a few minutes.  He thinks he’s finally made his case now.
“So, can I leave my coat here?”
“Did you not hear what I just said?”
“But MOM! It’s not cold.”
“Yes it IS cold! And I'M your mother. And it’s MY responsibility to make sure you leave this house dressed warmly enough for the weather. You need your coat on!”
With a smirk on his face, he picks up his backpack and puts in onto his arms so the bag is resting on his chest. “There.  I have my coat on.”
“Nice try, Stinker. You’re wearing your coat.”
He hangs his head…and tries again.
“Please! Can’t I just keep it in my bag?”
“Colin. No. You will wear your coat.  And when you get to school you can put it into your bag.”

He spins around and sets the bag down to take out his coat. Oh the struggles of being a kid.  One day he’ll realize that I had his best interests at heart…I hope.